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Charles Tyrwhitt eyes rival TM Lewin

Lauretta Roberts
01 May 2020

Shirtmaker Charles Tyrwhitt is reported to be plotting a takeover of rival TM Lewin.

The brand, which was founded by entrepreneur Nick Wheeler, is one of a number of interested parties to have submitted bids for TM Lewin this week, after it was revealed last month that Bain Capital, the private equity group, which has backed TM Lewin through its debt investment arm since 2015, was keen to sell.

Sky News now reports that offers had been submitted for TM Lewin, which was founded in 1898, this week, although details of Charles Tyrwhitt's bid were not known. Corporate finance firm Alantra is handling the auction process.

TM Lewin trades from 66 stores in the UK, and over 150 stores worldwide. It is chaired by Beatrice Lafon and run by CEO Sven Gaede. Most of its 700 staff are furloughed while its stores remained closed as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown.

Charles Tyrwhitt operates from 40 stores in the UK and internationally and was founded by Wheeler in 1986.

TM Lewin is one of a string of fashion retailers to change hands during the COVID-19 crisis. Laura Ashley was recently acquired out of administration by investment firm Gordon Brothers, which has said it will now operate from a streamlined portfolio of stores.

Lifestyle retailer Cath Kidston was bought in a pre-pack administration deal by its backer Baring Private Equity Asia which resulted in the permanent closures of its 60 stores. Debenhams was also placed into administration by backers Celine Jersey Topco which has so far resulted in seven permanent store closures, though most stores are expected to be saved.

Yesterday, administrator Deloitte announced that no buyer had been found for the Oasis and Warehouse chains and that they would cease trading from their 90 stores and online. Restructuring firm Hilco acquired the brands' IP and stock.

South African group Truworths is also looking for a buyer for the Office footwear chain.


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